Think about these questions (many of these come from or grow out of observations that John Walton makes in his book The Lost World of Genesis One):
1. Before God ever gets about the business of creating with all the "Let there be's," we get mention of the waters/the deep in Gen. 1:2. But God never said "Let there be waters/the deep." It's just there from the beginning, which seems weird. I guess God didn't need to create the waters?
2. God "separates the light from the darkness" (1:3). What's odd is that you can't really mix light and darkness in the first place, so it seems strange to separate them.
3. Why does God call the light "day?" Why doesn't he call the light "light?"
4. Is it strange that God creates the light--"let there be light"--but not the darkness? God never said "Let there be darkness as well." It seems like it's just there.
5.On day 2, God never says, "Let there be waters." Instead, he separates the waters above from the waters below. But it seems like the waters are just there.
6. God separates the waters with a "firmament" (KJV) or "dome" (NRSV). But there's not a solid dome-like structure up in the sky holding the rain back (I always think of The Truman Show when I read about the "firmament.")
7. God doesn't really create waters and land on the third day--it just says that he gathers the waters together and that dry land appears. Which raises the question: when did God actually create the earth? God never says, "Let there be the whole earth." You could take 1:1 to be the creation of the earth, but that's before the initial week of creation. But if God create the earth then, before the sun and moon in day four, why didn't the earth fly off into space without the sun to hold it in orbit? But if God did create earth, sun, moon, etc., in that initial act in 1:1, then why does the text say those heavenly bodies are not created until day four?
8. The perennial question: where does the light come from on the first three days if the sun, moon, and stars aren't created until the fourth day? How was there evening and morning without the sun? Seems like a little bit of a problem.
9. Why do we call it the seven days of creation? Nothing gets created on the seventh day.
For (at least) all these reasons, it looks like Genesis 1 doesn't make much sense, which of course brings us to a key rule of biblical interpretation. When the Bible doesn't make much sense, it's time to go back and question the lens through which we're reading the Bible. It's time to ask what in our context frames the text so that we read it and say, "That doesn't make sense!" It's time to go back to the original context, the original author, and the original audience to see if we're missing something that would have made perfect sense in their world but doesn't make much sense in ours. I'll leave you hanging today, but in the near future I'll draw on Walton's work to suggest a way forward in making sense of Genesis 1.